Letters to the Editor: The best of humanity is on display in the outpouring of grief over Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant memorial
Fans mourn the death of Lakers star Kobe Bryant at a memorial at L.A. Live on Monday night.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The loss of nine lives in a helicopter crash Sunday, including those of Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, is a tragedy. I grew up in Los Angeles and began to play basketball in the late 1990s. Bryant was already a legend by then.

The collective and immediate outpouring of grief is immense and an appropriate response to tragedy. What this shows is that today, in these times, we can come together urgently and deeply, independently and yet powerfully coordinated, in response to tragedy. There is no division, no “other side,” only collective heartbreak, love and gratitude.

This response gives me hope, and we cannot take it for granted.

What has the power to elicit an urgent and collective response of this magnitude is dangerously scarce. As we become more divided, it only grows more so.

Our ability to meet the challenges of our time — including climate collapse, mass extinction and suffering — depends on our ability to collectively recognize and respond to tragedy. It is not a change of the rational mind. It is a change of heart.


And it is possible.

Laura Smith, Woodland Hills


To the editor: Whereas the deaths of Bryant and his daughter Gianna are shocking and devastating for so many, so too are the deaths of Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan to the friends and family they left behind.

Can we please take a compassionate minute to list their names too? In the majority of articles written, and even on the Senate floor, they are referred to as other people.

They are not just other people. They are just as important to those who loved them as Kobe and Gianna are.

Kathy Stecher, Upland